What does a Staff Writer do?

The specific responsibilities of a staff writer differ depending on the industry and location where he or she works. Staff writers are salaried or hourly employees who are assigned specific responsibilities that must be met in order for them to keep their jobs. A staff writer usually has both team and individual responsibilities. A team of writers is usually employed advertising agencies, newspapers, magazines, and television (TV) studios.

A TV staff writer’s main responsibility is to write written scenes and dialog for a weekly or daily show. A head writer, also known as a show runner, assigns specific episodes or scenes to his or her writing team in most cases. A staff writer for a soap opera, or daytime television serial drama, may work from home and submit completed assignments via email. Staff writers from most other types of TV shows, such as dramas and situation comedies (sitcoms), collaborate on-site to exchange and develop program content. Before individual writers write certain sections of the script, the show’s writing team may discuss each episode and decide on the overall flow of the dialog.

Staff writers at magazines and newspapers frequently work alone on stories assigned the editor. Newspaper and magazine staff writers write articles that may require interviewing people who were involved in a specific event or incident. Newspaper reporters and magazine journalists may be assigned a specific topic, or beat, such as political news, fashion, sports, or education, as part of the publication’s staff. Columnists must prepare regular stories that fit within the allotted space while adhering to production deadlines. Staff writers for newspapers and magazines may be required to travel frequently in order to research the background of a news story and interview people who were involved in or affected the event.

Advertising staff writers’ primary responsibility is to write copy for advertisements (ads) and promotional materials. The goal of these ad copywriters’ work is to persuade the target market to buy the agency client’s products or services, so their work must be extremely original and creative. The creative side of the advertising business, along with graphic design, is referred to as copywriting. An ad agency’s staff writers may be tasked with creating work for specific clients or accounts. Typically, they report to a creative director who is in charge of their department.